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SUZANNE PENMAN

I went to Belmont Academy – I was a conscientious student and achieved good exam results and headed straight to university but I only stayed six months – I didn’t like it. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I got a job in Domino’s Pizza and was supervisor there for about five years. Then I changed direction completely and worked for Spark of Genius who cared for children. However five years on I knew that care was not for me either.

My heart lies in Art –so I picked this up again and went as a freelance artist with www.freelance.com meaning I could work really flexibly. But I still felt adrift and thought college would help me get back into it and give me an opportunity to get skills and qualifications to work as a graphic designer or a children’s book illustrator.

College has been great – it’s opened up new ideas and possibilities and given me the freedom to explore. I have learned about photography, printmaking, poster design – I have enjoyed it all! It’s also been a challenging experience balancing work, study, finance, managing time and having a life!

Coming back to education at 27 years of age was strange at first but age does not really matter. We have a lot of group projects so you get used to working with a diverse range of people. What’s more important is drive. You need personal drive and motivation to be successful in this course. You must want to learn and be prepared to put in the hours practicing.

At the end of the HNC course I had learned a lot but realised I did not have enough work experience. Over the summer I took on two work placements. One with the Big Blue Dog Agency and the other with the marketing team in Ayrshire College. It has been great to see the difference between working for an agency and being part of an in-house design team.

I’ve had the opportunity to work on great projects such as the smoke free campus campaign, design a logo for the volleyball club and create a magazine for the time capsule that will be placed in the new campus. This experience has helped me to enhance my skills and I have learned to slow down and make sure my work is polished and to a high standard for the customer. I’ve also had experience of meeting clients, understanding their needs and dealing with feedback.

I have got such a lot out of the experience and it has cemented the choice to explore a career in visual art – I have finally found what it is I want to do.